aboriginal artist: Ada Andy Napaltjarri

Ada Andy Napaltjarri (born c. 1954) is a Warlpiri– and Luritja–speaking Indigenous artist from Australia’s Western Desert region. Ada was born near Haasts Bluff, Northern Territory, and has lived in several Northern Territory communities. She began painting in the early 1980s at Alice Springs and probably played a role in the development of interest in painting in the communities in which she has lived.

Ada Andy began painting around 1981 or 1982 in Alice Springs. At a time when women first painted with the Papunya Tula company, Ada Andy was one of the first to choose to paint independently, although Birnberg and Kreczmanski record that she did paint for the company. She then lived and painted in communities where her husband was teaching, including Mount Allen, Lajamanu and Willowra, all in the Northern Territory. Vivien Johnson believed Ada may have been partly responsible for the development of interest in painting in those communities.

Western Desert artists such as Ada will frequently paint particular ‘dreamings’, or stories, for which they have personal responsibility or rights. Ada paints Warumpi Mother and Daughter dreaming, Women Dancing, Yalka (bush onion) dreaming, and stories associated with black plum, wurrampi (honey ant) and Ngapa (water).